Been there, done that, got the “sleeve”!
On Monday, November 23rd of 2015 I went to Royal Jubilee Hospital and had my surgery, a VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy). My surgery was just over an hour long, and I was in recovery for two hours. I walked away with 80% less of my original stomach, four tiny holes and one incision where they pulled my old stomach through the cut in my belly. Yuck but COOL!
I have had surgery before but this time was different. This time as I lay under the big bright lights in the cold room waiting for them to put the needle in my arm so I could go to sleep, all I could think of was my family. My husband, my children, my parents, everyone. What if I didn’t wake up? What if something went wrong? What would my family do without me and me without them? DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE? And then I felt a warm hand softly touch my shoulder and whisper to me “Alicia, I will take good care of you.” Thank you Dr. Amson. And as a tear rolled down my cheek I was asleep and ready to begin my new life.
The next thing I remember was waking up and seeing a clock on the wall ahead of me and I noticed the time read 4:05pm and I thought oh my Daryl has been waiting for me for a long time. I need to get up, he’s gotta drive back to Nanaimo. And then my eyes closed again. I remember trying so hard to keep them open. But it was like they were glued shut. I remember next waking up at 4:25 PM and saying to the nurse I have to go pee. She said OK I’ll go and get a bedpan. Let’s just say a woman barely awake from surgery, lying down and a bedpan not an easy combination. I did achieve success. Enough said. After all of that I was kind of awake now they said all right time to head up to your room. By the time I got there and settled into my room and met Daryl there it was shortly after 5 PM. My lovely nurse Jordynn came into check to make sure that I was comfortable and she said how you feeling? I have to goo pee again. She said ok I can go get a bed pan or you can walk to the bathroom. I’ll walk I said. She was going to help me and I said I will do it by myself. That was a good first step as it really helped me with healing and getting all the gases in my stomach moving. It was shortly after 6 PM and I remember falling in and out of sleep and finally told Daryl to head home and see our boys. We had left our home at 6:30 AM and he had to drive back from Victoria at 6:30 PM. It was such a long day for him especially just waiting. I spent another full day in the hospital to make sure that I was doing OK, checking my vitals, making sure that there was no rips, tears or holes in my new stomach pouch. I was able to leave by 10 AM on Wednesday morning and head back home. It was not the easiest of drives from Victoria to home. It was so bumpy and curvy every single movement I could feel. Thank goodness Daryl brought me a pillow that I could hold against my stomach which made it a bit better. It felt good to be home. To see my children and parents, to sleep in my bed with the warmth of my husband beside me. And my dog. She has been so good. She really checked me over when I got home. And then she knew something was up. Everywhere I was, she was. She made sure I was always ok and taking it slow. Dogs are so amazing. Thank you Nova! I’m so grateful that it all worked out and that I have such an amazing family, friends and life to come home to.
My pain hasn’t been too bad, more uncomfortable. For the first few days it was a lot of gas from the air that they fill your stomach with, a bit of nausea and what feels like a lead ball in your stomach. You feel swollen, sore but not hungry. I could not believe how full that I would feel after a small glass of water sipped so slowly. I’ve learned to drink and eat very slowly and to pay close attention to my body and how it feels. It’s definitely a new way of living for me. On my 30 day preop liquid diet I lost 32 pounds which was a great to have off for me before the surgery. It helps with the recovery for sure. No wonder people lose weight this way.
I felt so lucky and loved when I got home by all of the words of encouragement and well wishes from family, friends , coworkers of my husband, my doctor and my lovely daycare families. I’m really truly blessed to have you all in my life and you’ll never know how much your words, your time, your thoughts and prayers have all meant to me. They have helped me to heal faster I’m sure. I could not have done this without my husband and my parents. They all filled in where I left off with Our Home, my children, meals, errands all well nursing me back to health. Thank you so much Mom, Dad and Daryl. I love you all. Now it’s time for me to finish healing and start this new awesome life that I’ve been so blessed to have. This journey towards weight-loss started for me May 2014 and somehow I feel like it actually just started all over again November 23, 2015.